My flight is delayed.
I don’t mean that I am still waiting for my flight, which is what this phrase usually suggests. The flight has already taken off, but once a flight is delayed, it continues to be so. Mine was delayed three hours: it left three hours late, will arrive in Amsterdam three hours late, and right now, in the air, is three hours behind where it should be, temporally.
The stated reason for the delay was “none” for most of the evening, till finally one gate agent mentioned mechanical issues. The plane had been delayed coming from Amsterdam to the US – apparently due to said mechanical issues. That phrase, casually inserted into standard gate agent apologies and salves, does not instill confidence.
An old woman sitting next to me at the gate was particularly nonplussed about the delay. She repeatedly asked a KLM employee for more info, indicating concern about missing her connection to Budapest. Then, she asked the employee if we could help clean the plane. “We” probably meant she and her husband, but I stealthily infiltrated the joke. The employee laughed politely and informed the woman that the plane was already clean. I asked if we could help tune the instruments. She was not amused.
Many of the Dutch flight attendants/airline employees wear hats, for whatever reason. I can’t adequately describe the hats: They are ladies’ hats and are round and have brims. Directly in front of me was a man wearing a cowboy hat. Behind him was a very old woman wearing a breezy veil. There were many hats at the gate.
This photograph is of a Belgian waffle. It is one of the snacks the airline handed out (free at the gate!) in a gesture of contrition for the mechanically delayed flight. It was not very good, but it was a unique airline snack (to me). It almost makes up for not getting to see Belgium this trip. (I was supposed to have a nineish hour layover in Brussels on Wednesday en route from Copenhagen to Malaga, but in light of recent events took the safe/boring play of switching to a direct flight. Fortunately, Brussels Air was graciously offering refunds for flights.)
Sharing the starboard side of row 25 with me is a beautiful Norwegian girl. She speaks imperiously. Upon arriving at our seats: “You do not need to get up yet. I am going to use the toilet first.” In our second interaction, I asked her if she knew how many hours ahead of New York Amsterdam was so that I could set my watch. The Moving Maps, which includes time at destination, on the seatback screens currently has No Data Available. She is primarily interested in two things: Making her connection home to Bergen, and New York fashion. My elbow keeps nudging her pillow, which is seated in the seat between us. I suspect this is a source of annoyance. Talking with me is not among her primary interests. In this way, she differs significantly from the Michigander with whom I shared the cramped fourteenth row of the officially “undersized aircraft” that brought me from Chicago to New York earlier. Shortly after we took our seats, he kicked off the conversation by letting me know that he planned to and desperately needed to sleep on the flight because he had not gone to bed last night. When asked, he generously acquiesced to not minding my overhead light for reading if I did not mind his snoring. Once he fell asleep, his snoring was not so bad, but he took a while to get there. During his rapid provision of personal information to a stranger, I became well-versed in his fraternity’s philanthropic offerings, his family’s trust fund and the inheritance-related complications thereof, the plethora of women who have graced and continue to grace his life with their presence, how annoying it is that his two-year old child and the child’s mother seem to be following him, and various tidbits drawn from his unfortunate coincidence of a profession: electrical engineering with a specialty in aeronautical actuators. (It turns out that “actuator” essentially means “thing.”) He would have had plenty to say about whatever mechanical issues were plaguing my curent plane. I feel blessed that, this time around, my company are an untalkative Norwegian and an untalkative pillow.
I am writing this to stave off overnight flight insomnia. The galley does not have any Fanta.